by Jordyn Greenblatt
Why should middle-schoolers be discouraged from reading Poe? The answer is—well, they shouldn’t be!
The introduction of the new Edgar Allan Poe App (for Android and iPhone) will be geared towards middle school children who are just finding their taste in terms of what they enjoy reading. Children at this age are curious and have a devout love for reading since its so new and important to them, now that they are finally able to read somewhat higher level works. Children at this stage of their lives are constantly encouraged to read new things, without having the jaded perspective on certain genres or types of works. Some of these students may already have taken an interest in Poe, given the allure and mystery that comes along with his name.
It’s not a secret that Poe’s texts can be difficult to understand, and contain content that can be new or confusing to young readers—this is where this annotated edition will swoop in and help young kids who are in that same position. When I was younger, I would check out Edgar Allan Poe books from the library because I found him fascinating, but sometimes I wished that I had some sort of translation or summary there for me to check back on when I didn’t understand certain parts of a poem or tale. Here is where this digital edition will be extremely useful, since its in an “app” format. The Edgar Allan Poe app would be available on major smart devices like iPhones and iPads, since younger kids of this generation are very hands on with technology. These day its so rare to find a middle-school aged kid without a phone or tablet in their hand. These devices can be much more interactive, and have a “game” type of feel, making each experience very fun and interactive.
The app will encompass a large amount of Poe’s works and will essentially be that sort of translation that kids may be looking for when reading Poe—as I wouldn’t want a middle school aged child to shy away from starting to read Poe because he or she finds it difficult to understand. The annotations will consist mainly of definitions of unfamiliar or upper-level words, as well as explanations of any obscure historical event or object in terms that are simple and understandable to young readers.
The great thing about this edition is that, at the end of each poem or tale, the final annotation will be a combination of summary and analysis that students can read and check to see if they were on the right track or just to help them if they are struggling to decipher the work. The words that are annotated will be highlighted in yellow and students can tap the words as they go and a chat bubble will pop up, displaying the annotation. At the end of the work “Summary” will be highlighted in yellow, and students can also tap that to reveal the summary of the entire work. The “tapping” feature will also help students because the annotations are not invasive and allow students to click on words as needed, this way they do not interrupt the fluidity of their reading process. The app will also include interactive illustrations to go along with the works to keep the students engaged and help visualize each tale or poem.
As Poe fans and enthusiasts, we deeply appreciate how Poe’s legacy has lived on for so long after his death. This edition greatly affects and adds to Poe’s legacy by helping capture and engage a new market of people who will hopefully develop an affinity for Poe at a young age and continue this love and engagement with his legacy. Hopefully, these students will keep Poe close to their hearts as they grow and learn more throughout their lives, advocating for his works and legacy to live on and be appreciated even further.